Common health problems for elderly cats include chronic kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and hyperthyroidism, says PetMD. Other conditions that afflict elderly cats are dental problems and cancer.
Aging eventually causes the cat's kidneys filter waste less efficiently, says PetMD. This is called azotemia. The symptoms include increased thirst, vomiting, anorexia, increased urine output and weight loss.
Old cats commonly suffer from cardiomyopathy, which affects the heart muscle, notes PetMD. Elderly cats are also subject to diseases of the heart valves.
Diabetes, which occurs when blood sugar levels are out of control, is more common in cats who have been allowed to be fat and inactive, PetMD explains. As with some diabetic humans, many cats with diabetes need insulin injections. If the disease is caught in time and treated aggressively, the diabetes may go into remission.
Arthritis also plagues old cats, says PetMD. The cat may sleep more and not be able to run and jump the way it used to. This is not a sign of aging, per se, but of painful joints.
The older cat's thyroid may start to produce too much hormone, resulting in hyperthyroidism, PetMD warns. The symptoms include weight loss despite a healthy appetite, increased thirst, diarrhea and vomiting.